Together Again

What were we thinking? Giving our preteens their own boxes of a body-spray set at Christmas may not have been our best parenting move. Smells like a teen locker room on the second floor of our house. Moderation isn’t apparently a skill we’ve acquired yet.

But, I’ll take it. Our family is together again. For those that aren’t familiar, from April until December, we lived a treadmill of horrors as at least one child was living away from home the majority of the time in order to receive extra care. Just a few days before Christmas, we found out he could come home on holiday leave. We made the decision he wasn’t going back.

No, things are miraculously “better” — what is that anyways? No, we aren’t delusional to think that we won’t ever be back in the same cycle. We are together. We are all in the same house. We are still continuing care and treatment. We are not giving up. We are not desiring to be separated any more.

It feels good to be back together. We’ve spent the last two weeks relearning everyone, every routine, every personality. We’ve been grounding ourselves in this “micro-season.” I’m convinced that this stage of life is a season of care for our pre-teens, who are in a critical period of recovery for the intense trauma they endured before coming to live with us. This season seems to have shorter, more intense bursts of activity as we work our way through this longer journey.

Right now, they’re snuggling together on the couch- best friends and brothers that they are. Tomorrow, they’ll probably be yelling at each other. Probably be setting one another up to get in trouble. Brother stuff. It’s a slice of normality that we’ve been craving for months and months and months. And on Tuesday, it’s back to school for both of them. (And now that I work from home — I get it… It’s PAST time.)

Tonight, we went for dinner at the cheap Mexican restaurant down the road. No one looked at a device and we all survived. We all enjoyed the time together. Just as we have ever since the 22nd of December, when we became whole again.

Well, not completely. I’m desperately missing our foster child that left us this fall. I hope and pray one day he can rejoin us for good. But that’s the nature of foster care, you care for them until… But our pre-teens are ours. We chose them. We adopted them. For seven years, we’ve seen them grow and seen them heal. And, for the most part we’ve seen them thrive.

When the events of late April struck, we moved into fight or flight mode. Adrenaline kicked in and we did what we had to because not living life wasn’t an option. Spring turned to summer turned to fall turned to winter and it started weighing heavily on us. For me, mid-November until Christmas were the toughest. You noticed my “30 days of posts in November” just disappeared, didn’t you?

The health issues, family separation, financial strain, job loss and the giving 100% to my new career finally took a toll. We’ve all had those periods over the last nine months. I’m coming out of it, our other pre-teen is heading into it. But God knows.. and has brought just the right people at the right time so we don’t walk this alone.

But today, we’re together. And we’re thankful. And hopeful for a healing 2020 … or at least a less chaotic year ahead. I’ll just take that.

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